Articles and opinions by Wendy Weng
Heavy household debt burden poses risks in some Asia Pacific countries
Household indebtedness has been on the rise, which is putting future economic growth and financial stability in jeopardy. Thus, many central banks have unveiled measures to curb high household debt. In Asia Pacific, Australia and South Korea are facing the most serious household debt problems.
Brighter near-term outlook belies real risks
The Asia Pacific banking sector will benefit from the improving global and regional economic conditions in 2018. Overall, better asset quality is expected, and banks will maintain relatively stable profitability and capitalisation. Nevertheless, there are growing concerns over the potential asset price corrections, high private debt, and geopolitical risks.
Asia Pacific banks remain unfazed by asset quality pressure
Retail asset quality pressure will persist in the Asia Pacific region, due to slower economic growth and worse employment situations. However, the downside risk to banks’ retail asset quality will remain manageable, as regulators and banks continue their efforts to better manage credit risk.
Capital and liquidity improved in the Middle East
Although Middle Eastern banks experienced a contraction in profitability, their overall capitalisation and liquidity improved with the gradual adoption of Basel III regulations. In Africa, asset quality and capitalisation are the key concerns.
Stronger balance sheets, weaker profits
Despite the strength of their balance sheets, Asia Pacific banks continue to face massive challenges in growing profits, a conundrum created by modern capital rules.
An unrelenting lack of normality
The annual Asian Banker 500 largest banks ranking does not only measure and track the numerical changes in asset size but also the fundamental transformation of these institutions as they confront an unprecedented level of disruption on various fronts; regulation, technology, competition and customer.